The EXP 100 GT takes interactivity well beyond what we know today: its systems will learn and eventually anticipate occupants’ desires when factors such as light conditions, road surface or weather change. Bentley wants to move the EXP 100 GT – and its future models – well beyond simple A to B travel: cars like this will be for “extraordinary and emotional human experiences”.
Luxury in 2035 will extend, Bentley says, to harnessing and redirecting natural light, filtering and redirecting natural airflow and making much more imaginative use of mostly sustainable trim materials to create a link between the car’s occupants and the world outside. It will even be possible, it claims, to offer the feeling of open-top motoring under the car’s glass canopy.
The 100 GT is the latest in a decades-long family of Bentley EXP concepts, most of which have had considerable relevance to the look and specification of production models that came after them. It has an electric powertrain dubbed Next Generation Traction Drive that uses four 201-335bhp electric motors and an advanced torque vectoring system to distribute a combined output of between 800 and 1340bhp to all four wheels, depending on spec.
The combined peak torque is revealed at just over 1100lb ft, which, given that electric motors develop maximum torque at the very bottom of their range, easily accounts for the eyewatering estimated 0-62mph of 2.5sec, along with a top speed of 186mph.
Although it has also been designed to accommodate a fuel cell stack, the EXP 100 GT paints a very optimistic picture of battery progress over the next 16 years. The range is claimed at 435 miles even though the GT’s overall mass is tipped to fall to 1900kg – around 35% lighter than a car with similar capabilities would weigh today. That should be very beneficial to cornering, braking and agility.
By 2035, Bentley says the car will use batteries with five times today’s energy density, accepting an 80% charge in just 15 minutes. The car’s lightness is all the more remarkable because of its size: at 5.7 metres in length and 2.4 metres wide, the EXP 100 GT is nearly half a metre longer and much wider than the new Flying Spur.
Bentley is sketchy about the car’s construction, claiming only that its comparatively low kerb weight results from a structure of “lightweight aluminium and carbonfibre”. The cabin has twin doors, each two metres wide, that lift outwards and upwards for effortless arrival and access that, Bentley says, provides a sense of occasion. As do the car’s configurable aerodynamic wheels, complete with ‘intelligent’ tyres.
Interestingly, the EXP 100 GT’s big coupé proportions bear a clear but advanced resemblance to today’s most recently arrived current Bentleys, the Continental GT and Flying Spur. The new concept also has the fastback and rear haunch of one of Bentley’s most famous cars, the R-Type Continental coupé. The round lights overlapping the extremely ornate and prominent grille – which, like the ‘Flying B’ bonnet motif, lights up when the driver approaches – are an acknowledgement of the famous ‘Blower’ Bentley of the 1920s, designers say.